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Sky now blocking Newzbin2

by Alistair Lowe on 16 December 2011, 15:11

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The following is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect HEXUS' opinion.

As of December 13th, Sky's block came into action, though, unlike BT who seemed rather upset by the idea of site blocking and who has also been challenging the terms of the Digital Economy Act to protect end-user rights (along with business overheads), Sky has created a webpage defending the decision to block Newzbin2, called Protecting Copyright. It's perhaps one thing to heed court decisions, but it's another to rub salt into the wounds when supporting a legal case that could set a dangerous precedent for site and service blocking in the future.

James Firth of the Open Digital policy organisation has suggested that, unlike BT, Sky likely blocks access to Newzbin2 and other sites using IP addresses. It is well known that the site is frequently changing its IP address and that until the adoption of IPv6, which will supply more addresses for all, IP addresses on the current IPv4 protocol are all but used up and so sharing and recycling of IP addresses is becoming increasingly common place, "Pity the website owner who picks up Newzbin's old IP address," said James.

It is expected that Virgin Media and TalkTalk will also have to comply to blocking access to the site, though neither firm has yet received a court order and TalkTalk, at least, has contested the suggested order, in particular the costs relating to implementation of such a block.

HEXUS Forums :: 19 Comments

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Is this the “block” that can be by-passed by using https? Laughable really…
Murdoch company in IP coddling shock!
IMO, Sky do have some vested interest in protecting the copyright of music and movies, otherwise some people aren't going to invest into their Box Office, Movies packs or music channels.

Although, I am glad I'm not part of Sky's IP anymore, even though I don't use Newzbin, what else might get blocked in the future?
It's perhaps one thing to heed court decisions, but it's another to rub salt into the wounds when supporting a legal case that could set a dangerous precedent for site and service blocking in the future.
Oh, really?

Let's be clear about this. It's been before the courts, and the ruling was that Newzbin, of whatever number, was clearly facilitating, on a large scale, copyright infringement. It was ruled that the site owners claims that they did not know were “simply not credible”. It was not entirely unreasonable to conclude that the primary purpose was to facilitate copyright infringement.

The site then moves offshore, hides it's ownership and management, and carries on doing exactly the same thing, in a clear and overly deliberate attempt to avoid, whether they agree with it or not, a court judgement.

Why is it a “dangerous precedent” for a court to order blocking of a site that's got breaking the law as a core function, or perhaps the prime purpose, of it's existence?

We have laws for a reason, and in this case, it's to protect industries and people's living and employment, all of which piracy is a serious threat to.

If I set up a website, copied all of HEXUS content and made it freely available, and you lost your job as a result, would you be happy? Or would you expect HEXUS to seek to protect it's copyright? Through a court, if necessary. I would point it is serious hypocrisy to expect your own copyright to be protected, and to then to support the breaching of someone else's.

Sky are enforcing a court order. And as it happens, they support it. So do I, not least as someone that expects my copyright to be respected, and that has had occasion in the past to threaten legal action when it was breached, by a UK publisher (and a wealthy one at that) using material without either permission or recompense. As it happens, it was quickly acknowledged as a mistake and recompense was forthcoming. But it was only forthcoming because the legal system clearly backed copyright.

It is not rubbing salt into wounds to expect major corporates to comply with court orders, and gladly, when it's respecting the rights of others to earn a living, In fact, for all Sky's numerous faults, it's refreshing to see then actually take a stand. They've gone up in my estimation, not because they took action but because of their attitude over it … .though frankly, going up isn't hard when you've no further to go down.
The trouble is piracy is simply more flexible than any legal system that is in place right now for distributing content. I was at a LAN party a few weeks ago and was shown a series of programs that downloaded illegal content for you you could filter by:

Metacritic score
IMDB score
Format (avi.)
Display Size (480p, 720p, 1080p etc.)
File sze
Source - DVDrip / Cam / Full official DVD / Blu-ray rip etc.

Also set what time of day it would perform downloading (i.e. early hours etc.)
Programs were automatically downloaded as soon as they became available to a NAS storage device

It was simply the ultimate illiegal PVR essentially, and quite frankly, it was an excellent system. Yet there's no legal alternative, this is the world in which we live, and the broadcasting giants need to understand this. Region specific anything is from a bygone age, forget it. Once it's shown anywhere you can bet I will be able to download it illegally within a couple of hours if I so wished, they need to understand that simultaneous worldwide release is the only plausible system now.

I'm still waiting for a system like this to be implemented legally with a subscription charge. They need to offer a comparable service what I've outlined above. But it's going to be a long time coming, and until they catch up piracy will be very healthy regardless of their efforts.